Cyprus Mail
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Our View: No rationale in adhering to the ‘legacy of Makarios’ 

THIRTY-NINE years may have gone by since the passing of Archbishop Makarios, but our political establishment remains incapable of adopting a critical approach towards him. In the eyes of our politicians he remains a symbol of political perfection and boundless wisdom, an infallible leader whose legacy lives on today. These were the sentiments expressed by the majority of the political parties yesterday, the 39th anniversary of his death.

Among other things, we were told that that he was “a leader with international radiance and respect” who “was admired in the whole world” and “lives in the hearts and conscience of our people.” Leaving the hagiographies aside, all the parties that issued announcements (Diko, Greens, Edek, Alliance) reminded us of Makarios’ call for “a long-duration struggle,” a little while before his death, and that we had “an obligation to continue Makarios’ struggle.”

We should consider these platitudes a little more closely. First, Makarios never specified the time-frame for the “long-duration struggle.” Perhaps his definition of “long-duration” was 10 or 20 years, after which we should have tried to cut our losses and salvage a part of the occupied territory. We have now entered more than the 40th year of this “struggle for vindication” without coming anywhere remotely close to the much-vaunted vindication.

Second, is it not rather foolish to claim that what Makarios was saying 39 years ago, in completely different conditions, is valid today? Cyprus has changed radically since those days and the occupied north has developed as a separate entity under the complete control of Turkey. The majority of the population is Turkish, Turkish businesses have made big investments there, towns and villages have grown and expanded beyond recognition, while the two communities have been living separately for 40 years. The only things that have not changed since 1977 are the dividing line and the presence of Turkish occupation troops.

This could not be described as a success of Makarios’ “long-duration struggle”. In fact, it is emphatic proof the failure of this struggle which had as its objective, as former House president Yiannakis Omirou reminded us in a statement yesterday, the “withdrawal of the Turkish troops and the solution of the Cyprus problem, as soon as possible after the invasion, based on UN resolutions and an international law.” As none of this was achieved in the last 40 years, how could any rational person claim we should adhere to Makarios’ legacy?

Interestingly, one of the announcements also informed us that Makarios was “a big obstacle to the plans for partition and ‘Turkification’ of Cyprus, which was why he was the target of the treacherous coup of July 1974.” Obstacle or not, the plans for partition and ‘Turkification’ have been fully implemented and Makarios’ disciples are still talking about the long-duration struggle.



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